“Yes, I will live my life in relationship with God and according to God’s commandments” is a commitment that has to be renewed regularly.
Twenty-one years into the preaching of parish missions, Eugene reexamined the importance of some of the ceremonies which were an integral part of Oblate mission preaching.
The renewal of the baptismal promises is obligatory. Great prominence should be given to this ritual. Our custom is to expose solemnly the Blessed Sacrament on this occasion.
Remembering that this was still a period of reconstruction of the faith that the Revolution and some subsequent governments had tried to downplay and destroy. God’s “law” for doing this is contained in the commandments given through Moses and through Jesus.
The new proclamation and acceptance of the law amidst a people who had, in some way, given up God’s commandments and who again want to be under the loving yoke of the Lord must be done in a way that leaves a deep impression.
The people were to participate actively in the proceedings.
That is why it is very important to lead everyone in solemnly affirming each one’s fidelity, in a loud voice, at the missionary’s invitation, who repeats from the pulpit, with the people, each commandment promulgated by the officiating priest at the altar, in a clear and intelligible voice, and then explains it.
Letter to Bruno Guigues, 5 November 1837, EO IX n 652
(For more details see: http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=510)
“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)
“I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, 20 by loving the Lord, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you” (Deuteronomy 30: 19-20)